26 June 2017

Acadia National Park

Lots of rocks and sunsets:

21 June 2017


Sort of fulfilling my meadow of wildflower dreams in Maine:

19 June 2017


Haven't seen a sunset this spectacular since Exeter:

15 June 2017


Mom's birthday dinner:

This sponge cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi is the most difficult cake I ever made, and perhaps not so coincidentally is also the cake with the shortest ingredients list I've ever made. It's just flout, sugar, eggs (and salt & vanilla extract, but these aren't structural). Aka a recipe to witness the power of eggs. I was super skeptical when pouring the 300g of sugar into 6 egg yolks, thinking it'd just be yolk coated sugar clumps, but it did in fact turn into a texture that falls as billow-y ribbons off the whisk. That's the good news. The bad news is that I completely messed up folding the stiff-peak egg whites in, mostly because I didn't think to switch to a bigger spatula to minimize the number of folds until the very end. Don't be stupid like me. Regardless it's not easy trying to fold clouds into concrete. So the final cake is not quite spongey, but still delicious with some strawberry compote and a generous dollop of softly whipped cream.

14 June 2017


Vancouver photos are up across various places (but also consolidated here!):
Many more photos (with people's faces, appropriately) on Facebook.

13 June 2017


Things I ate before I graduated:

 米线with mom at another place that provides overly generous portions

ice cream with Jeff, but he's really a cheesecake monster

12 June 2017


Browsing through "curating" my pintrest is always fun.

In anticipation of wearing a white dress for convocation:

11 June 2017


views from Whistler and the drive there

Mountains are good for perspective.

05 June 2017


A visit to UBC, where the aesthetics of each department's building roughly matches UofT's.


 Civ :(


04 June 2017


A visit to the Van Dusen botanical gardens. It was not on my radar, am very glad Angela wanted to visit. We had lots of fun photographing there, and naming various sad looking trees. The highlight for me is definitely the giant rhubarbs, which I will definitely plant in my front garden for their menacing looks.

Lunch at the Shaughnessy restaurant, 10/10 for ambience. Loved how they provided scones instead of bread for brunch, but they could've been more generous than a tiny piece per person.

03 June 2017


More Whistler road trip sights:
 Brandywine provincial park

 Looking to Backcomb

Looking down at the valley from the Peak2Peak gondola, very impressive ride


The lighthouse provincial park is also very impressive looking with its gigantic trees, but we were rushing and did not stop to take photos for once.

02 June 2017


A couple of photos from last night's walk around the Vancouver waterfront.

This series is typical in concept and fairly poor in execution, but the contrast of the reflections in the black water is appealing to me:

I was trying to take a photo of a building adjacent to these houses, but upon reviewing the photo decided that these look far more appealing:

Bonus windows on the walk back

01 June 2017


Second time was the charm to catch the sunset at English Bay.

 Sort of swirly bokeh?

29 May 2017


Some recent cookings:

Hybrid east-west scrambled eggs with chives from mom's garden. Chives are like the trailer for fresh garden vegetables, ugh how many more weeks till I get my tomatoes?

First shot at soba, quite mediocre in execution.

27 May 2017

white sandwich loaf v2

version 1

Strangely, or perhaps because the yeast is getting old, this batch took much less time to rise. Thankfully I had to courage to stop the final rise early. The crumb is also more airy, but that could be because I didn't do a good job deflating the dough. The final bread is quite soft because that, which makes it difficult to slice. You can see the indent from me holding the bread:

Step Time Temp
End of mix 1:40 PM 80
Fold 1 1:46 PM 76
Fold 2 13:53 77
Fold 3 2:02 PM 77
End of bulk 3:06 PM 77
End of pre-shape 3:40 PM 75
Start of baking 4:57 PM -
End of baking 6:00 PM 210

26 May 2017


Lunch with mom at pretty cafe version 2:

I very much like the tableware here.

25 May 2017


Opening my last pack of sencha, picked up on a whim at a teashop we found above Okonomi.

Perhaps I overleafed a bit, but the tea taste very umami in the initial steep and fades into a pleasant bitterness in the subsequent steeps. The liquor is most cloudy that the ippodo senchas that I've had, I think its because this tea is steamed for a longer time.

Overall I think I'm not a huge sencha fan, probably because I'm just not that into green tea. One pack per year is about all I can stomach.

24 May 2017


Ajax views:

Lilacs are everywhere

I actually really enjoy watching cars speed by on the 401

23 May 2017


some of the long weekend eats:

 salted caramel chocolate mousse from David Leibovitz

Where I learned that making caramel isn't scary at all, thanks to Stella's advice of using a giant pot. This recipe is moreso tricky trying to fold in stiffly whipped egg whites. I also ate it after chilling it for only ~2 hours, which made the texture not quite mousse like. It was like a sticky pudding instead, which almost match the caramel taste more. Would def make again.

red velvet cookies via Sally's Baking Addiction / chocolate chip cookies via Kenji

Somehow Jeff and I spent 2+ hours making these two cookie doughs, but at least we now have cookies on demand. The UFO profile cookie (thin, crisp edges with a thick chewy centre) still eludes us, so we're still bickering over cookie texture for the near future. I also believe that the cookie dough is a mere vehicle for containing oozing chunks of chocolate.
There's some moose track ice cream sitting in the freezer and I'm dreaming of it being sandwiched between these chocolate chip cookies.

brunch: leftover lasagna with an egg and garlic bread

aka I ate too much and still feel crappy. Let's just appreciate a rather photogenic spread.

We also made steak, which ended up being a tad overcooked (medium to medium well). I blame a very slow reading thermometer, but it's a poor excuse since I later found out that the thermometer is oven proof and could've just been left in the meat. At the very least I appreciate my thermopop and cast iron pan more.


Cheese is so much cheaper at costco. $9 for a huge chunk of smoked cheddar hurr.

I lament about how much more expensive grocery is downtown in general, but at least there's farmer's markets and my own gardens to look forward to. Going to gorge on all the fresh tomato I can.

22 May 2017


Looking forward for these to grow:
basil / thyme / oregano / rosemary / sage

21 May 2017


Some progress on Gabriel Garcia Marquez:

I gave up on Autumn of the Patriarch because the edition I have has no paragraph delineation, very sparse periods (I count about 3 periods per page), which makes a difficult to read book even more strenuous to read. Also too many 5 words+ names of generals to remember.

The other three are good, I think I prefer his shorter works more, if only because they require less effort to appreciate.

From Memories of My Melancholy Whores:
The world is moving ahead. Yes, I said, it's me gong ahead, but it's revolving around the sun. He kept my Sunday column because he could not have found another cable editor. Today I know I was right, and I know why. The adolescents of my generation, greedy for life, forgot in body and soul about their hopes for the future until reality taught them that tomorrow was not what they had dreamed, and they discovered nostalgia.

From Strange Pilgrims:
Since I described the European cities where the stories take place from memory, and at a distance, I wanted to verify the accuracy of my recollections after twenty years [...] Not one of [the cities] had any connection to my memories. Through an astonishing inversion, all of them, like all or present-day Europe, had become strange: True memories seemed like phantoms, while false memories were so convincing that they replaced reality. At last I had found [...] what only the passing of the years could give: a perspective in time.
It was difficult for him to believe that time could cause so much ruin not only in his life but in the world.
(end of first paragraph of the first shot story)

A good review via Goodreads on On Love and Other Demons:
If Garcia Marquez explored the metaphor or love as a disease in "Love in the Time of Cholera", then here he centers his story around the metaphor of love as madness and demonic possession.
Also, this book focuses on one incident during a very short period of time and therefore reads very differently than Garcia Marquez's more famous extensive sagas.

18 May 2017

little changes

17 May 2017


Capstone is never done durr. At least I get a trip to Vancouver out of this, I'll take that as consolation for being waitlisted for the Global Grand Challenges conference in D.C.